Modelling real-time control of WWTP influent flow under data scarcity

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In order to comply with effluent standards, wastewater operators need to avoid hydraulic overloading of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), as this can result in the washout of activated sludge from secondary settling tanks. Hydraulic overloading can occur in a systematic way, for instance when sewer network connections are extended without increasing the WWTP's capacity accordingly. This study demonstrates the use of rule-based real-time control (RTC) to reduce the load to the WWTP while restricting the overall overflow volume of the sewer system to a minimum. Further, it shows the added value of RTC despite the limited availability of monitoring data and information on the catchment through a parsimonious simulation approach, using relocation of spatial system boundaries and creating required input data through reverse modelling. Focus was hereby on the accurate modelling of pump hydraulics and control. Finally, two different methods of global sensitivity analysis were employed to verify the influence of parameters of both the model and the implemented control algorithm. Both methods show the importance of good knowledge of the system properties, but that monitoring errors play a minor role.

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